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Excessive or addicted. Spouse post


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I need help deciding if this is excessive gameplay, boredom, or addiction

I am over the moon in love with this guy but I'm terrified that I'm making the same mistake I made with my ex. My ex was addicted to the internet and pornography and I went through hell for so many years because of it. I see a lot of the similar things with my partner now and it scares me and I don't know if I'm actually seeing them or I think I'm seeing them because I'm afraid I'll get her again. I've been told I've taken things out of contacts we're taking things out of proportion and I want to make sure it's not this so I'm asking for an outside opinion.

Background. My guy has loved video games since he was a kid and would play them all the time. When I met him I knew he was a gamer but I didn't know to what extent. When we first started dating I would only get to see him on the weekends. I was a divorcee with two kids and the kids went to their dads on the weekend. My partner and I would hang out on the weekend and I would stay over however for a good portion of the entire time I was there he would play video games with his friends. Rocket League at the time. I voice my concerns to him but in a sense I was talked out of it being a big deal. His excuse was is that he was a bachelor for a long time and these are his habits. I guess I was expected to be okay with that. And I was meek. I didn't want to cause trouble and I hate conflict. Eventually this became more of a problem and I couldn't understand why he didn't want to spend one-on-one time with me.  She told me he would game all in the week with his friends as soon as he got home from work until midnight some days maybe longer. Almost every day of the week. So why couldn't I have him on weekends? A few times I asked him to stay at my place but my place seemed very boring to him and it seemed like he. couldn't leave fast enough I knew as soon as he got home he would jump on the games. I knew as soon as I left his home he would jump in the games. It hurt.  

Eventually his solution was to get me into the games that he'd like to play and he got me into a game called ark. I was introduced to his online friends and it was great. It was fun. But when he gets bored of a game that's the end of it. And that's exactly what happened and since then he's done it to me several times.  Encourage me to bring my computer over with me on the weekend when we would be together. A couple time became playing computer side by side. I was so incredibly lonely and I couldn't tell him at first and when I did he just didn't understand and reiterated that he should be able to do with his time whatever he wants.  Brought up how he was living The Bachelor Life.  Now we would do dates and I would dress up all pretty and we would go somewhere but most of the time when we came back he would just game or sit and watch TV together. It's the same even now.

Now we live together as of a few years ago. It was my idea and I thought us living together would be great because he would want to spend more time with me. Instead I got a first-hand look of what his routine was. Go to work come home, log into the games, eat or help prepare dinner, go back to the games and then eventually come to bed to watch a TV show. Again I complained and again I was met with defensiveness. I'm trying to change him. I'm trying to control him. It's his personality and I can't change that. It's his personality and he doesn't want to change that. I need a hobby because this is his Hobby. I need friends. I was always mad with the same excuses and the same logic.  

Life turned into hell for me within the last year and covid wasn't even in the top five. I was going through an extremely stressful time because of my family and I was barely coping. I would beg him for one-on-one time. I would come up with date ideas. I just wanted some time with my partner. One day he just randomly came up with no electronics Wednesday and we would all watch movies together as a family and no video games at all. I was so happy. We still do this but he still games on Wednesdays. He says he has nothing better to do because we have to wait for the kids to finish their chores. I told him that that's not the idea and it caused another argument. He told me he was bored and I told him that he could have come to me and we could have done something together hell we could have even gone for a walk but it was on deaf ears.  

A while ago he wanted me to get into a game called world of Warcraft which I will call wow from here on. I was adamant on not ever playing that game as I know people including my own family members who have destroyed relationships because of the addictive play. at first he was fine with me saying no but would remind me that it used to be a great game. I asked him if he was ever actually addicted to it and he full-on admitted he was fully addicted to it but that after a while he just got bored with it and quit. I think in his mind that because he quit he thinks that there's not a problem that he has control over it but I'll get into that later. Anyway he asked me twice more the second time I said no. More recently he offered a gaming day for us as a date. Where I am covid shut down all the restaurants and they're literally was nowhere to go especially safely at the time. At first we played a game together and all he would talk about is how wow was so much better. He made it very obvious that he was bored with the game and didn't want to play it anymore. Eventually he came to me for third time and propose that we play WoW together but that there would be rules. I was leery. The rules were that we would only play together and not with anybody else. That it would be our date game. Because I was so desperate to spend time with him I agreed.  At first it was great because he loved showing me around and telling me about his Glory days. He still owned his account from 20 years ago and paid for my subscription. We started to play and then he got bored of his character and insisted that we both start new characters. It was really upset about this because I was just getting good at my character but I only had the choice of starting a new character and making him happy or continuing with this current character and hearing him complain. I chose the new character. I did end up loving the character but unfortunately that was his reasoning or justification for me changing characters anyway. When we started playing we would play a couple times a week but then his friends found out we were playing and wanted to play as well. He asked if we could play with them and I said no. I got attitude. I was told that it would only be for a little bit. Then at some point we got stuck in the game and he needed to ask for help so his friend logged in to help us and that's how it started. Now we were playing with other people and I wasn't okay with it and I told him I wasn't okay with it but he said sometimes it was okay and sometimes he would play with me. It came to the point where we would play more with other people than he would just play with me. At this point in my life I was going through a lot of depression and this was starting to get to me because it felt like rejection and no matter how I explain this to him he just wouldn't understand.  One day he came upstairs and told me how he was showing his buddy all the cool areas on his old character. I was extremely pissed off. He didn't see it as a big deal but now he was logging into the game without me. He's already broken two rules now. That ended up being a big fight. He has a way of making me feel like a terrible person for not letting him enjoy himself. I'm a terrible person for enforcing the rules this is how I feel. But what he doesn't seem to understand is that he's the one who created those rules. Soon he swore he wouldn't log in without me but then I caught him doing it again this time he was running a dungeon. I've seen him multiple times logged into the game and if I go to his office I've seen him hide his monitor. 

One of the more recent times I went into his office to let him know that I was getting ready to do something so that he wouldn't disturb me and he was playing in a dungeon. I walked away I couldn't deal with it at the time. When he came upstairs later I asked him if he got anything out of it. He looks me right in the eye and said no. Everything to my core told me he was lying. Everything. The day went on and I was busy anyway but later on I ended up ripping my fingernail and needed a nail file which was in his office. When I went into his office on his screen was a picture probably displayed to one of his friends but he got a really cool dragon mount and that I am going to be so pissed off LOL. Those words. My heart sank. Now he's lying to me about a game. I kept that for 2 weeks in my mind. I lost sleep because of it. Eventually we got into an argument again about wow and he always insists that it's just a game. When we have these arguments he threatens to uninstall the game knowing full well that I won't play it without him therefore punishing me. He's offered no alternative to her weekend dates it's all about the game. He says I should come up with ideas but I have. He just forgot them all or didn't hear me. That argument ended up with me having a panic attack. Again. I told him about seeing his monitor and he fully admitted what he did and he apologized however it was one of those apologies let's start off with I'm sorry but. Somehow again I was made to think it was my fault. That there should be no rules and that he should be able to do whatever he wants.

Now to the present. Yes I was stupid enough to go back and play games but I just wanted to spend time with him. The other day he was playing again and I asked him why he was playing his character in a specific realm because at this point the rules are that he could play as his old character but only within a certain realm until it's a certain level. He wasn't doing this he's changed the real so many times now and when he goes against them he says that he doesn't even know what the rules are anymore even though he's the one who created them. He sarcastically says I should write them down for him. He says because of me he doesn't want to play anymore because I'm making it stressful. He says I sucked all the fun out of it. Again he threatens to uninstall it. This time he did.  For me not only did he pretty much tear our little date night thing into shreds well at least the last piece of it but he offered no alternative. He still believes that he's in the right and that I am trying to control him.

Here's the part I don't understand. Yes all of this sounds terrible I'm sure and it sounds like an addiction to me that he says when he has nothing else to do video games is his go-to. It's covid right now and for sure there is not a lot to do but how he is now isn't that much different than how he was before. His new job doesn't give him a lot of work so he sits there and plays video games. He's a procrastinator and he knows it. He also says he can quit at any time. When he went to go and see his son he didn't play for a few days and he seemed fine and when he was down in another country visiting his dad for a month he didn't play much either and he was fine and this is what the argument is. He can quit at any time. He cannot look at his phone and look at Reddit anytime he wants. But if I ask him to do exactly that I'm controlling him.

We tried couples counseling. He hated it because he felt the counselor was picking on him.

I've mentioned this to my psychologist, my counselor, and my doctor and they all say run. I don't want to run. I want to try but I've been here before and I tried for many years to deal with someone who was an addict and live harmoniously with them and it broke me. My mental health in the last year has deteriorated so much. The only thing keeping me here are my kids right now and I'm seeking therapy to help myself with that and in regards to everything I've posted above I don't know what this is. I don't know if this is excessive. I don't know if this is addiction. I don't know what to do.

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Well, I'm not a counselor, so this is not the advice of a qualified professional but, basically . . .

RUN.

Now.

Save yourself.

There is no point in you trying even just to get through to him, to communicate what you need, if he's just going to pull that defensive little-boy bullshit. Even if you genuinely care for him, even if you love him and want nothing but his well-being, the pattern the two of you are in will exhaust your capacity to care for him, for yourself, or for anyone else.

I'm afraid the only path for you is right out the door.

It will be difficult. There will be confrontation.

Don't get drawn into the trap of trying to explain yourself, to offer some cogent argument.

Just go.

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I second what Zeno and your counselors have said. Sometimes, a fight isn't worth it, and it's best to step back and find better options. People say "run", but what it's really simply giving yourself enough space and control to find better options. Because you do deserve better. And he does too, I bet, but it should must not be your responsibility to get him off the hook. 

It's best to walk away. Trust your counselors and therapists. 

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Having been in a similar situation, (though younger and not nearly as dramatic) on the "male's side" I think the only way to get something to actually change is if he wants to. And you can only find out that out by leaving him. In my case, she told me she would leave me if I didn't get it under control. Since I'm here now, it obviously still isn't 100% under control but there were much worse times. Anyways, I knew she was serious, and I told her she was right and we should seperate instead of ruining us both. She didn't want to leave me and still loved me but we knew this couldn't go on. That breakup made me finally realize how bad it was for her and the very real prospect of having lost her over video games terrified me. We were back together again within a month and she still sometimes cries when memories of that time come up. The emotional wound might never fully heal. Still, it was worth it. That was 5 years ago I am with her to this day and we agree that because of our "short breakup" we became a much stronger couple. I think that her not being able to be here with me during Covid is one of the reasons I relapsed and am now here to get back on track. When the breakup happened, I did consider the idea that not getting back together would mean I could game as much as I wanted, not having to justify it to her and gain so-called freedom (although gaming addiction is the prison). That was a tempting thought but having consciously decided against it was a decision for her. In my mind, when I chose coming back to her, I might as well have proposed to her, that was a full commitment for me. Maybe your situation is different and I'm not a counselor, I just wanted to share my experiences. About this rule making and "controlling" that he's using as a defense: my love never told me to choose between video games or her. Had she done that, I might have actually tried to convince myself that she's controlling me and restricting my life. All she did was say that she was sad and lonely. In other words, had I been able to make her happy and play games, she would've been fine with that. I realized that that wasn't possible, which made it logically equivalent, but the way she said things were just as important as what she said. There were also some things on her side that weren't perfect, which she committed to working on. Now our relationship and especially communication is so much better than before.

I wish you two the best of luck! 

Tldr. We seperated but returned as better people and a better couple 

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Bottom line is, you can't change anyone. Ever. Period. Stop trying to.

If your husband doesn't want to change, he won't. He has proven this time and time again.

In a way, he's right that you are trying to control him and you need to stop. Do not participate in his gaming anymore. Do not talk to him about gaming anymore. If he brings up gaming, tell him to stop talking about it. If he won't, leave the room. And make it clear that if he wants to continue gaming as well as keep the relationship, then he needs to work on healthy boundaries with the games. Then, leave him alone. Let him spend his time how he wants and decide for himself what he wants. If he doesn't change, you need to leave the relationship.

I will warn you however, that I don't think this relationship is salvageable. Your husband is an abuser and an addict. He is so addicted to the games he's not even close to realizing he has a problem. Not even sitting down with a counselor seems to have moved the needle. He needs to seek therapy for his own problems, and it sounds like that's going to take years of hard work.

This isn't about running. It's about recognizing that YOU DESERVE to have what you want in a relationship. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have someone as a partner that wants to interact with you and do things with you, things that YOU want to do. This is not selfish, this is recognizing that we all as individuals have needs and desires and those things deserve to be fulfilled.

Edited by seriousjay
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Amaluna..

I cried reading your post.. because I realized I'm doing the same thing to my wife....

I stopped gaming yesterday, uninstalled all my games..

My wife tried to save me a lot of time, everything you mentioned, we lived through as well..

My problem was this: I hated myself. In real life I got beat up, be ashamed, live in fear, abaondoned, etc. Even though I am a PhD Student now and have a nice career, my attitude at home never changed.

My wife never understood my psychology. She tried to save me, she couldnt, she hurt herself mentally and sometimes physically as well..

BUT NOW I MADE A DECISION: I want to have a life. A real life. I want to feel sadness, happiness, fear, and other human emotions and not run away and hide from them. Gaming was the best place for me to hide from the problems of the real world, even after the accusations  of my wife i tried to forget and be happy by gaming alone in my office.

I played every day. I told my wife that I was studying for my university, which sometimes were true, but most of the times I was playing or watching movies, or sometimes even porn..

Quitting gaming and watching porn are 2 great steps for  me to becoming who  I really  am  and fulfilling my destiny.

Please write more, don't stop there, your story  is sad but amazing.. never knew that there were other people living through these things as well. your story opened my eyes.thank you

 

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